VIBE: Active, Busy, Family Friendly
4700 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706
Updated January 2, 2022. St. Pete Beach is experiencing very low red tide conditions in January and it is improving. Check conditions before you visit. We visited St. Pete many times when we first moved to Florida and love it. Driving over the sparkling Sunshine Skyway bridge to this Gulf beach is always a pleasure.
What You Need to Know About St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is just south of Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and Madeira Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. It was not affected by Hurricane Ian 2022. It shares the same beautiful sand and water qualities, but has a different vibe. We used to live in the Ellenton/Bradenton area so it was often faster to drive to St. Pete Beach then try to get to Anna Maria Island. We often visited the City of St. Petersburg to eat lunch with a view of Tampa Bay. Our favorite bakery is also there.
Getting to St. Pete Beach
One of the best things about St. Pete Beach is how close it is to Tampa International Airport. Find the lowest airfare prices by booking your Florida trip online at Lowest Flight Fares. Usually it's about a 40-minute drive from the airport and the scenery with palm trees is just beautiful. Book a rental car here for your St. Pete vacation.
St. Pete Beach Sand
Like Clearwater Beach, the sand is white and as soft as powder. There are some small shells that children will enjoy searching for, but nothing like Sanibel Island. This is the kind of beautiful sand that you get on most of the Gulf of Mexico beaches. The only beach locations that might have whiter sand are Siesta Key and Destin Beach.
St. Pete Beach Water
It's hard to beat the Gulf of Mexico when it comes to swimming. What we love about this beach is the easy to reach sandbar. You can walk or swim across the crystal clear Gulf water and lounge with a view back to the beachfront. It's warm and shallow: up to your waist. We saw a manatee and dolphins while relaxing there. Many of the tour boats pull right up to the shore for passengers. You can jet ski right off the beachfront too. This is a busy beach but it's also a larger expanse of beach. There's plenty of room for everyone to have fun.
Beach Parking and Amenities
Parking at St. Pete Beach is not free and they use the ParkMobile app. It is not large enough for RV parking although our pickup truck was fine. Spaces are limited and you should get there before 10am. Do NOT back into the parking spot! If you follow this blog, you know by now that parking on most Florida beaches will cost you about $10-$30 per day (This beach was $3.35 per hour at time of publishing). This access point has no on-site snack bar, but you will notice there's a Chick-fil-A and Publix grocery store across the street. If you don't want to eat at the beach, these are options for grabbing food on the go. We don't suggest you park in their lots because you may get towed.
If the parking lot is full try Upham Beach Park just up the road. The Paradise Grille restaurant is on site. It also has volleyball nets and cabana rentals. No dogs are allowed at any St. Pete beaches.
There are bathrooms right at the parking lot with an outside shower and foot wash station. You can wash off before getting back into your vehicle. Cabana rentals are $30 per day. Many St. Pete and Clearwater Beach public access locations have beach wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis at the beach lifeguard stations. To find out more click here.
Like other beaches, St. Pete Beach has a free shuttle service called FreeBee. These totally electric vehicles will provide door-to-door service. Tipping is NOT required since drivers are compensated by the city.
St. Pete Beach Activities
Sunsets or dolphins? How about both! There are so many hotels and resorts on St. Pete Beach that offer watersports. Many of them have partnered with Suncoast Watersports. You can sign up for jet skis, wave runners, banana boat rides, and cruises. Sunset and dolphin spotting cruises are extremely popular: kids love them too. These excursions take you to some of the pristine outer islands for 3 hours to see dolphins, manatee, stingrays and more. There is also a sunset tour (with alcohol) to watch dolphins as the sun goes down. There is nothing better then a St. Pete Beach sunset and a drink!
St. Pete Beach Dining
Eating in St. Pete Beach is easy with many restaurants along the shoreline. Feeling upscale? Then choose Spinners Rooftop Grille the restaurant that looks like a cruise ship and has a 360 degree rotating view of St. Pete Beach. What a view at sunset! However, you will need reservations and they have a dress code. Be aware of corkage fees if you BYOB.
If you are feeling like just walking out of the Gulf of Mexico and sitting at the bar, then chose Sandbar Bill's Bar and Grille. Club sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pizza and frozen drinks hit the spot while the sun goes down. It's located in the Bon-Aire Resort.
City of St. Petersburg, FL
Living so close to St. Petersburg, Florida gave us the opportunity to explore the city located on Tampa Bay, just over the Sunshine Skyway bridge. We love to explore the parks that have ropey Banyan trees in North Straub Park. On our last visit we dined with a view of the water at the Parkshore Grill on Beach St. before a performance at the Mahaffey Theater (it was a Queen tribute band). There are almost as many yachts in St. Petersburg as Miami Beach! One of our favorite things to do is shop at Mazzaro's Italian Market. We often had lunch there enjoying a tomato and fresh mozzarella sandwich on the patio.
The St. Pete Pier is a brand new experience for visitors. It is a new, gleaming structure that offers dining, art, shopping and even a splashpad for kids! There are over 500 on-site parking spaces and bike parking. More information about parking including directions and rates here.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Always check for Red Tide with this link or other water quality conditions before your stay. If you are planning a visit to St. Pete Beach in 2023, beach replenishment will be underway at that time. The project is expected to take several months to complete, but the beach is open. Approximately 1,000-foot sections of beach where re-nourishment construction is taking place will be closed off. The city says the beach not within the active work zone should remain open.
What We Really Think About St. Pete Beach
We like St. Pete Beach so much we'd love to live there. However, much of the infrastructure is old, including the homes. We are not ready for condo living just yet. Although dealing with hurricanes is a part of Florida life, it can be particularly risky living on an island. The thought of evacuations and flooding gives us second thoughts. Living near Bradenton, when we first moved to the Sunshine State, we experienced flooded areas and evacuation lines on the interstate. Not fun! So for now, we will continue to visit St. Pete Beach and stay in a hotel or with friends, if they'll let us.
St. Pete Beach Hotels
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers specializing in Florida beaches on every coast. Take a road trip or plan a Florida vacation.